HIBERNIAN’S Easter Road stadium is in line to stage top-class rugby after a bid was submitted to host both European finals in Edinburgh next season.
The Scottish Rugby Union wants to have the 2014 Heineken Cup final at Murrayfield and the Amlin Cup final at the Leith ground on the weekend of 23-24 May. Rival bids have been submitted from England and Wales, with Twickenham and the Millennium Stadium vying with Murrayfield for the Heineken final. The bids will be considered by ERC, the body that runs the European competitions, with a decision expected early next month.
Murrayfield has hosted the Heineken final twice previously, the last time being in 2009, when Leinster beat Leicester in front of 66,000 fans.
The format was first tried in Cardiff in 2011 when the Millennium Stadium played host to the Heineken Cup final and the Cardiff City Stadium staged the second-tier Amlin Cup final. The following year the finals were in London, at Twickenham and the Stoop respectively. Last season Dublin was host city, with the Aviva and the RDS the venues.
The prospect of the 20,000-capacity Easter Road staging a final on the Friday night is an intriguing one, although the SRU also has Glasgow’s Scotstoun as a fall-back option.
Dominic McKay, the SRU’s director of communications, said: “We have two options for the Amlin Cup final and we’re in very early discussions with both. Our preferred route would be Easter Road, which we think would be a fantastic venue. It’s bigger than previous Amlin venues but the Amlin Cup is a very important tournament and we think it deserves a venue like Easter Road. Scotstoun is our other option for the Amlin. We know we can do it there, but out preference would be to have both finals in the same city.
Easter Road was briefly home to Edinburgh Rugby from 1998 to 1999 and hosted Heineken Cup matches.